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The Germans had already proven too strong in the preliminary round and in the final it was the same story. However, nobody was too disappointed as the team had already secured participation at the Olympic games this year as well as at the World Championships in 2005 in Tunisia, and the next European championships in 2006 (although the venue is still to be chosen). For their efforts the Slovenian players are supposed to receive 20,000 Euros each, twice as much as the Germans who took the gold medal! After losing in the final, Tiselj said: "I would like to thank everyone who worked with the team, the players and the fans. The Germans were simply better. We were at the top of our game, but we also counted on the Germans being under pressure, as they had lost twice in the finals before. But we had no more strength left at the end." Many believe that the handball team has set a new standard for other national teams when it comes to fighting spirit. This is particularly the case when compared to the national basketball team, which has never managed a top result despite having some outstanding players. In contrast, the handball team had no real stars, but the team worked extremely well together. If there were stars, the star of the Slovenian team was Vid Kavticnik, who was also chosen for the all-star team. Kavticnik, 19, who plays for Gorenje Velenje, was largely unknown to a wider audience before the championship but when it mattered most he rose to the occasion. The crucial and probably toughest match was the semi-final against World Champions, Croatia. After a hard battle Slovenia won 27-25, which meant that the goal of winning a medal had been achieved. After the match, the Croat handball federation hit out at the president of the Slovenian federation, Zoran Jankovic, for mistreating Croat fans. They supposedly did not get as many tickets as they were entitled to. The Croat federation also said that it would take legal action against Ales Pajovic, who injured the Croat player Petar Metlicic. The Croat coach said that this injury was the key Slovenia's success. Sore losers perhaps? Outside observers believe that this was the best organised championship to date. The president of the European Handball Federation, Staffan Holmqvist, said: "I think that handball is in a whole new dimension. I would like to thank the Slovenian Handball Federation and the organizers, who organised a wonderful championship." This was definitely music to Jankovic's ears, who said before the championship that he wanted the best championship, ever organized. His second goal was a medal and his third goal is to become the president of the European Handball Federation. This final one he has yet to achieve.


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